Virgin with Sleeping Child

Proof before state 1, or state 1, before letters

Carlo Maratti (1625-1713), Virgin with Sleeping Child, etchings, c. 1650’s.  Reference: Bartsch 6, a proof impression of the first or prior proof state, before letters, and an impression of the third state [with the inscription Carolus Maratus invent et at left, and fecit Romae bottom right below the oval in the plate] Both prints in very good condition; the third state impression with a repair upper left (outside of the borderline), both printed on old laid paper with small margins, 6 15/16 x 5 1/8 inches.  Both prints matted, with non-attached hinging at corners (accounting for the shiny appearance in the corners, in the illustrations).

Both fine clear impressions; the first state impression before letters is a shade more delicately and lightly printed than the impression with letters. The earlier impression has evidence of collector’s marks, now unidentifiable, both recto and verso.

Carlo Maratti was a precocious child, sent by his parents to Rome to study art when he was only 11. There he became the student of Andrea Sacchi, who was at the time the chief Italian-born representative of Roman High Baroque classicism. Maratti worked with Sacchi for 24 years, becoming a part of the Roman art establishment. He was eagerly sought after by popes and princes for portraits, altarpieces, and decoration of Rome’s most important churches, including Saint Peter’s.

Maratti made only 14 etchings, most probably before 1660, while he was still working in the studio of Andrea Sacchi. In Virgin with Sleeping Child Maratti shows his mastery of the etching technique, with several levels of shading, as well as the ability to create a wonderful composition within a relatively small space.

State 3, after letters